The Wilson Beacon

Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

Back to Article
Back to Article

Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

Graphic by Julia Ravenscroft

Graphic by Julia Ravenscroft

Graphic by Julia Ravenscroft

Alexander Diaz-Lopez, Opinions Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






As you walk around Wilson’s hallways, you’ve probably heard kids say “You’re so retarded,” or “that’s so SPED!” Students use the term “sped” (a common abbreviation for special education) as an insult when someone does something deemed “idiotic.” Though many of us don’t have bad intentions when using these words, “retarded” and “sped” aren’t words we should use freely. They are derogatory terms that are offensive and disrespectful to many students, especially those in special education.

The reckless use of these words causes a shift in their actual meaning. Originally, terms such as “mentally retarded” were associated with medical terms, but today “retarded” and “sped” are used as insults to degrade and humiliate individuals. By using these words in this context, we shame people who need special education and emphasize the idea that they are somehow defective. When we call people “retarded” and “sped” we create a stigma about students in special education.

Not only are we fabricating a false image of individuals with certain needs, but we are also generalizing those who are in special education. The term special education is an umbrella term with classifications regarding 13 different disabilities including autism, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, intellectual disability, and traumatic brain injury. When we use the term “sped,” we forget that it refers to people with any of these 13 conditions. Instead, we immediately view them as inferiors and devalue their intellect. We generalize them by thinking that they are all intellectually disabled. This is just simply wrong.

To show how negative the words “retarded” and “sped” have become, “Rosa’s Law” was signed into United States law in 2010 in reaction to the negative stigma and misuse of the term “mental retardation.” “Rosa’s Law” replaces the outdated term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in federal health, education, and labor statutes.

Too many of us are oblivious to the troubles students with intellectual disabilities and in special education undergo each day. If we keep on using these offensive words, we are all accomplices in continuing this culture of marginalization towards students in special education. For this reason, I urge everyone here at Wilson to stop using the terms “sped” and “retarded.”

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    It’s time America recognizes it’s linguistic diversity

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    DCPS history curriculum does not do black history justice

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    Let’s learn the difference between ‘club’ and ‘union’

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    SGA needs easy fixes to flawed structure

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    Ferebee’s hire continues problematic DCPS trend of enlisting pro-charter educators

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    Community complacency normalizes rape culture

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    100 word sex and relationship rants: Oral reciprocity and awkward dates

  • Opinions

    DCPS: Put some respect on Ms. Martin’s name

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

  • Opinions

    Look harder and share smarter

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    Zero stars for new DCPS rating system

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    Jhi like stop mocking DC slang

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    I’m not white—do you think I’m dumb?

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    Government shutdown jeopardizes federal workers’ livelihoods

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    Why must we ruin winter break by putting midterms on the other end

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    The midterm schedule is in need of serious changes

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    Solving Wilson’s diversity problems requires aggressive change

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    Wilson’s powerless SGA stymies student progress

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    What is the best month?

  • Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

    Opinions

    Don’t venerate politicians just because they die

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of Woodrow Wilson Senior High School
Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities